Udupi: Wild elephants leave trail of destruction

PTI, Jun 19, 2024, 8:27 PM IST

Wild elephants have been roaming freely in deeply wooded plantations allegedly causing a trail of destruction in several pockets of Udupi district, officials said on Wednesday.

The pachyderms damaged areca, plantain and spice plantations in Nellikatte in the Nadpalu Grama Panchayat area in Hebri taluk of the district in the early hours of June 18 and 19, they said.

Forest Department officials have estimated that there could be two individual jumbos behind the incidents and said they are in hot pursuit of the animals.

According to the forest officials, the wild elephants have ravaged the plantations and have even uprooted the sprinkler and drip irrigation systems laid out in the estate owned by one Meena Poojarti in the village.

The villagers have expressed fear of carrying on with their daily routine; children are being prevented from going to school, and farm workers are staying put indoors. The villagers demanded that the animals be tranquilised and translocated into their natural habitats.

This is reportedly the first time that wild elephants have entered the human habitations in the taluk, although Hebri taluk is known for its forest cover.

According to officials, earlier it was leopard sightings in these villages that disturbed the people.

Historically, elephants have followed a predictable path from Sullia to Naravi, passing through Maala Ghat, Valikunja, Kabbinale, Thingalamakki, Thengumar, Kigga, Barkana, Mallandur, Agumbe, and Hosanagara. However, this year’s deviation into Nadpalu village on the foothills of the western ghats has baffled the forest officials and the people alike.

Range Forest official Gaurav has confirmed the presence of elephants and said the officials are tracking their movements, and that they will soon be restored to the wildlife sanctuary.

Efforts are on to ascertain whether the elephants are the same ones that roamed through Puttur and Sullia taluks in Dakshina Kannada district earlier last week, officials added.

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